Amy Powell, Paramount’s TV President responsible for the creation of shows like The Alienist and 13 Reasons Why, has been fired following “concerns about comments” made by the executive in a “professional setting”, believed to have been a conference call.
Sources present reported that the inciting comments cam during a studio notes call for the upcoming First Wives Club reboot, which is set to feature a predominantly black cast, and has been penned by Girls Trip co-writer Tracy Y. Oliver. Those same sources say that Powell made sweeping generalisations about black women that many on the call found deeply offensive.
“Having spent the past several days conducting a thorough investigation into this matter and speaking to those who were present, our Human Resources and Legal teams came to the same conclusion and we have made the decision to terminate Amy’s employment, effective immediately,” Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos said in a statement. Supposedly, the company had been considering simply disciplining the shamed executive until she attempted to deny the allegations.
A search for Amy Powell’s replacement has already begun. In her own statement, from her personal PR, she said: “There is no truth to the allegation that I made insensitive comments in a professional setting – or in any setting. The facts will come out and I will be vindicated.”
Powell isn’t the first executive to be swiftly let go following racially-charged statements, with Netflix’s PR Chief Jonathan Friedland fired almost a month ago for repeated uses of the n-word at company events.
Read Jim Gianopulos’ statement to Paramount employees in full, below:
Last week, multiple individuals came to us to raise concerns around comments made by Amy Powell in a professional setting, which they believed were inconsistent with our company’s values. Having spent the past several days conducting a thorough investigation into this matter and speaking to those who were present, our Human Resources and Legal teams came to the same conclusion, and we have made the decision to terminate Amy’s employment, effective immediately.
Amy has made lasting contributions to Paramount in her 14 years with the company, including building a world-class team at Paramount TV. While it is incredibly difficult to part ways with a valued member of our community, it is imperative that we uphold our values and ensure that all employees feel safe and included in the workplace.
We will begin immediately looking for Amy’s replacement. In the interim, Andrew Gumpert, Paramount’s Chief Operating Officer, will provide operational support and Mireille Soria, Brian Robbins and Wyck Godfrey — Presidents of Paramount Animation, Paramount Players and Paramount Motion Picture Group, respectively — will provide creative input, where needed, to the incredibly talented Paramount TV team, which is very well-placed to continue the incredible growth of this division.
Importantly, I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the type of company and culture we’re committed to building at Paramount. It’s one of inclusion, honesty and accountability – where diversity is critical to ensuring that all ideas, backgrounds and perspectives are embraced and respected.
We will continue this conversation in smaller groups and on a companywide scale in the coming months and, in the meantime, I want us to take stock of where we are and explore what more we can do to foster a safe, supportive and inclusive workplace. Through direct engagement and an open dialogue, my hope is that we can undertake this progress together, in an environment where each and every one of our employees feels heard and valued.
Thank you for your continued hard work and ongoing contributions to this effort.
Source: Hollywood Reporter